Commencal Super 4 VIP frame£1,077.00

Short-travel singletrack menace

BikeRadar score3.5/5

This short-travel Super 4 frame from the Andorran alpine brand is new for 2009. It features a triple-butted mainframe with extensive machining plus seatstays that feed directly into the rocker link (rather than through a connecting link) for lighter weight and added stiffness.

It’s still heavy for a 100mm travel bike but if you can cope with the weight it’s a singletrack ripper. With a low-slung ride and aggressive ‘weight forward’ stance on a steady head angle, you can’t help but force the front end deep and hard into every corner and drift out the far side.

Tighter suspension feel doesn’t sacrifice traction control but the low pivot still takes a square-edged hit pretty well, even if getting full travel requires a real wallop.

Just watch your toes and crank ends pedalling through rutted and rocky terrain or you’ll smash them to pieces. The frame kit also includes a Thomson seatpost and Commencal headset, which is a big value boost.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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